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February

Britons set to get visa-free travel to Europe

Published: Tuesday 05 February 2019

By Halo Financial Team

Britons set to get visa-free travel to Europe

Britons may not need visas when travelling to Europe – even if there is a no-deal Brexit.

Fears of £50 visa

There had been fears that UK citizens would need to buy a £50 visa after Brexit when travelling to European countries.

Visa-free travel in Schengen Area

But now the European Union is planning to allow visa-free travel for Britons visiting Schengen Area nations for 90-180 days – if the UK agrees reciprocal measures.

European Parliament

The UK has said that EU citizens traveling to Britain for short stays after Brexit will not need a visa. The EU is now asking the European Parliament to begin talks over the legislation.

Reciprocal agreement

The EU says in a statement, “The government of the United Kingdom has stated that it does not intend to require a visa from EU citizens travelling to the UK for short stays.

“In the event that the United Kingdom introduces a visa requirement for nationals of at least one member state in the future, the existing reciprocity mechanism would apply and the three institutions and the member states would commit to act without delay in applying the mechanism.”

New ETIAS authorisation

However, from 2021, UK citizens – as well as those from non-EU countries –  will need to buy the new European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) pass. It costs €7 (around £6.30) – but those aged under 18 and over 70 do not need to pay the fee.

The ETIAS lasts for three years and is designed to ensure smooth entry at borders and airports. The electronic visa waiver scheme will operate in a similar way to the ESTA in the United States. The application is carried out online and should take less than 10 minutes.

The main reason for the ETIAS authorization is to beef up security. The EU says, “With the increased risk of travellers worldwide, the EU wants to ensure safe travels in its countries. The ETIAS will decrease security concerns substantially through its information and data gathering systems.”

It will also cut down waiting time at borders. “All in all, the ETIAS authorization will make travelling to the EU less of a hassle and a much safer experience.”
 
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No-deal threat to 700,000 travel jobs

Meanwhile, there is a warning that a no-deal Brexit could lead to more than 700,000 jobs being lost in the travel and tourism industry over the next 10 years.

Around 300,000 UK jobs would be at risk and 400,000 in the European Union, warns the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

The figures are based on an International Monetary Fund forecast of a 7.7% fall in economic activity if the UK leaves the EU with no agreement.

WTTC President and Chief Executive, Gloria Guevara, says, “Our members are already seeing an impact on their businesses and workforce."
 
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